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Film Comment July - August 2017

For over 50 years, an award-winning mix of international news, interviews, and critical reviews has kept Film Comment’s readers in touch with the state of movie art. Find out why Clint Eastwood, Steven Soderbergh, and Quentin Tarantino subscribe.

United States
Film Society of Lincoln Center
$7.90(Incl. tax)

in this issue

3 min
editor’s letter

Summer still holds the same association for most moviegoers as it has for 40-plus years—that season when blockbusters of one kind or another commandeer airconditioned multiplexes with the promise of escapism. Indeed, studios bet millions of dollars on that perception, planning out franchises for years to come. And in our latest issue, we succumb in our own way with this magazine’s latest look at big industry: Nick Pinkerton’s anatomy of the superhero phenomenon. But just as Pinkerton’s essay is not another “think piece” exercise in resignation, so is it becoming harder to describe the summer as solely a time of behemoth franchise productions lining up, squatting for weeks, and blotting out the sun. That’s because this summer, by numbers alone, the biggest presence—scattered over releases that don’t crack thousands of theaters—…

4 min
through the darkness

News, views, conversations, and other things to get worked up about I’m trying to make films with different forms in them, like ametamorphosis. I have this feeling that in everyday life, we go from one form to another because we are in love, because we take drugs, because we are in a club... We don’t have the same perception of the world at different moments, so I wanted the film to re-create this. I wanted a contrast between the [activist meeting] place in the film where they are talking and making slogans, and the club, where they are dancing, which is a place out of the world, dreamy, oneiric. I was a little bit inspired by an artist from Corsica [Jean-Paul Marcheschi]. He does paintings with fire, like an alchemist. I was…

2 min
blood ties

There’s a moody vibrance to Closeness’s many interiors, full of shadow and nocturnal colors, and we get the sense that there’s no escape to a greater outside world. One of the very rare discoveries at Cannes this year, Kantemir Balagov’s debut feature turns a story about a kidnapping into a restless portrait of a frustrated young woman. Set in 1998 within a Caucasus community where Jewish and Kabardian clans live side by side, Closeness begins as an in-the-fray look at a tight-knit family. Ilana (a riveting Darya Zhovner) works with her dad, a mechanic. She shares a crass bond with her brattishly funny brother, David (Veniamin Kac), who’s the center of attention because of his engagement. Then David and his fiancée disappear, and a ransom is demanded. The kidnapping causes a…

1 min
the bottom of the well

To go on at any length about feeling peevish with regard to the soul-devouring hellscape that is contemporary social media feels self-evident to the point of negation. In the digital social realm, human indignity, pettiness, ignorance, and egotism (disguised as false humility—or in the parlance of our timid times, “humble-bragging”) are on such full display and come at such a constant clip that finding one particular thing to get peeved about is like trying to capture a single bedbug with a pair of tweezers. Twitter— which this publication admittedly contributes to if not completely engages with—certainly bears comparison to other communities of like-minded people trying to get a word in, on whatever conversation the culture tells us is worth having. (Is Wonder Woman too feminist/not feminist enough? Are these indeed…

3 min
parting the clouds

“Juliette Binoche’s character in Let the Sunshine In is searching for someone to help her feel that to be anartist is not enough , to be a mother is not enough—she wants fulfillment in er life.” In your new film, which opened Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, Juliette Binoche plays a character who’s searching for real love. She has this strength and energy, yet she’s very fragile and sensitive because she is hoping for more.“More” includes a type of relation with a companion, or somebody you want to share something with. It’s a very natural thing. And yet, there is a moment when you realize that love is something that cannot last very long if it’s not taking into consideration a lot of things. She’s searching for someone to help her feel that…

3 min
stir crazy

King of Hearts abounds in slap stick violence that turns deadlyon a dime, as chance run-ins and incidental happenings come to have crucial s ignificance . King of Hearts Philippe de Broca, 1966, Cohen Media Group When he was in his twenties during the algerian War, Philippe de Broca spent two and a half years making films for the French army. He came home, apprenticed under Chabrol and Truffaut, and in the mid-’60s directed two farcical and brightly colored movies about servicemen that hardly looked or moved like the war films on which they riffed. That Man from Rio (1964) centers on an air-force pilot (Jean-Paul Belmondo) who spends his weeklong leave driving and flying across Brazil to rescue his lover (Françoise Dorléac) from a band of conspirators. King of Hearts, two…